Ready meals: quick, easy and, in my experience, tasteless.

Whilst I may not be the biggest fan of microwave dinner, I am however a huge fan of spaghetti carbonara.

Creamy, cheesy, pasta goodness- what’s not to love?

READ MORE: ‘I tried chocolate brownies from Tesco, Asda & Aldi and one was so bad it ruined my day’

With the simple yet scrumptious dish also ranking as one of the UK’s favourite ready meals, I decided to suck up my pride and try a few out.

Typically, a proper carbonara simply consists of pepper, Parmesan and egg. However, (and much to Gino D’Acampo’s horror) the carbonaras you find in British stores are usually particularly creamy – so I’ll have to accept this as a standard.

I headed to Asda, M&S and Tesco to pick up their own brand ready meals.


Asda’s 400g of Spaghetti Carbonara (Image: MyLondon)

Let’s be honest, this is not exactly appealing – it’s even so creamy it actually developed a skin, making my stomach turn a little. The generous helping of bacon lardons are crying out to be cooked a little more to render that congealed fat.

Asda’s offering of sauce has just whispers of pepper and an absence of cheesiness coating the well-cooked strands of spaghetti. It’s enjoyable and easy but lacking excitement.

It definitely looks worse than it tastes, but mostly it just tastes like a bacon-infused cream. As far as ready meals go, I’d call this not too shabby.

Price: £2.30

Rating: 3/5


M&S’s 400g of Spaghetti Carbonara (Image: MyLondon)

Instantly, this one smelt a lot cheesier and it translated through to the flavour. The bacon was less fattier too, yet more porky than smoky.

Avoiding blandness, the good people at M&S have treated us to actual seasoning with a strong taste of pepper. However, always seeming to do something weird, they added a strong hum of nutmeg. I can’t see the justification for this and frankly feel offended by its presence.

Rather glossy, with a subtlety of gooey cheese in the texture, the sauce runs somewhat watery.

Price: £2.85



Tesco’s 450g of Spaghetti Carbonara (Image: MyLondon)

I’m not sure this is something a supermarket should be aiming for, but Tesco’s offering smelt exactly like the hospital kitchen I used to work in. And that sets the tone for the rest of it.

Whilst there’s bigger crunches of peppercorns in this sauce, it tastes truly awful. Chewy pasta is caked in a thick sauce with little watery puddles pooling in the off-tasting cream.

Even the bacon tasted watery yet somehow bodied a dry texture. Not ok.

Price: £2.75

Rating: 0/5

Get the very best of What’s On in London straight to your inbox

London has it all – the best nightlife, food, drink, events, markets, everything!

But how do you keep on top of this? Our weekly What’s On newsletter, Going Out Out, is how.

You’ll get a fully curated newsletter with the most exciting stories, reviews, previews and more – including original content – every single week.

And the best bit? It’s completely FREE.

All you have to do is sign up for Going Out Out here.

The Verdict

Tesco have embarrassingly lost this battle. They managed to create a sauce that is tasteless yet also gross.

Asda gave a good fight with their average sauce and average taste.

But M&S take the carbonara crown. Simply because they attempted to flavour their sauce- even if I don’t agree with the rogue use of nutmeg.

To be honest, all this has done for me is confirm that although I understand the ease of speed; ready meals depress me. Here’s to the continuing satisfaction of making my own carbonara.

What supermarket product would you like us to compare next? Let us know at or

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign Up for Our Newsletters

Get notified of the best deals on our WordPress themes.

You May Also Like

Apple TV+: Ted Lasso’s favourite pub can actually be found in London but there’s one major thing different

Fans of the hit TV programme Ted Lasso can now pretend to…

Primark posts dupe of £560 loafers for just £12 and shoppers are ‘obsessed’

Table of Contents Hide Get London’s biggest stories straight in your inbox…

The beautiful town 20 mins from London is home to 2 Michelin starred restaurants but locals agree this pub is a better place to eat

Table of Contents Hide Sign up to MyLondon’s FREE newsletters! There seem…

London Covid: Londoners fear a UK lockdown is coming as cinemas Vue and Odeon stop taking bookings

Table of Contents Hide Get the very best of What’s On in…